How Tenants Use Digital Mapping to Track Bad Landlords and Gentrification

Hannah Norman at Yes! Magazine: “When Teresa Salazar first encountered the notice posted to her front door—which offered tenants $10,000 to move out of their East Oakland, California, apartment building—she knew the place she called home was in jeopardy.

“All of us were surprised and afraid because it is not easy to move to some other place when the rents are so high,” Salazar said in a video produced by the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project. The project uses mapping as well as data analysis and digital storytelling as organizing tools for low-income tenants to combat eviction and displacement amid the Bay Area’s raging housing crisis.

The jarring move-out offer was left by the Bay Area Property Group, founded by landlord attorney Daniel Bornstein—known for holding landlord workshops on how to evict tenants. The property management firm buys and flips apartment buildings, Salazar said, driving gentrification in neighborhoods like hers. In fear of being displaced, Salazar and other tenants from her building met with counselors from Causa Justa :: Just Cause, a community legal services group. There, they learned about their rights under Oakland’s Just Cause of Eviction Ordinance. With this information, they successfully stood their ground and remained in their homes.

But not all Bay Area tenants are as fortunate as Salazar. Between 2005 and 2015, Oakland witnessed more than 32,402 unlawful detainers, or eviction proceedings, according to data obtained by AEMP through record requests. But AEMP hopes to change these statistics by arming tenants and housing advocates with map-based data to fight evictions and displacements and, ultimately, drive local and state policies on the issue. In addition to mapping, AEMP uses videos of tenants like Salazar to raise awareness of the human experience behind jaw-dropping statistics.

The project is part of a rising tide of social justice cartography, where maps are being harnessed for activism as the technology becomes more accessible….(More)”.